Ready Wisdom: Make like a tree. Or How to live entirely in the moment.
There is pretty much a yoga pose for everything, and I seem to have spent most of the last week in tree pose.
In tree, you can root yourself to the earth, which helps on those occasions when you feel as if you might spin clear off the planet.
In tree, you can find that crucial place of balance between pressure points as you lift your branches.
You can reach up to the sky and wave your arms as graceful branches that move with the wind no matter how strong it becomes.
It has been one of those weeks.
When I wasn’t actually in tree pose, I spent time amongst the trees themselves, listening to the wind through their branches, watching their buds unfold, and smelling that sweet spring scent of flowering growth.
Most walks brought me to animals, and that is a fine place to be right now. There is a herd of Highland cattle in our local nature reserve, and they are huge, majestic things to behold.
A half-hour near a herd of cattle is instant relaxation and reminds me of a special knowledge we have forgotten: How to live entirely in the moment.
You don’t see animals worrying about the future and fretting about the past. You see them, instead, simply inhabiting the moment. If everything is fine in an animal’s direct vicinity, then they are fine as well.
I’m not sure I can sign up for the cow hugging I’m reading about in both the US and Dutch presses, but I can sit on my side of the fence in the field, and remember how to inhabit the moment. Then, for just a bit, my concerns subside so I can hold space in the quiet of my center and ground myself with the tree roots.
Once as I sat there, the cows began to sing for no other reason but joy I suppose, and I marveled to hear how it sounded like whale song.
Earth’s two biggest mammals, one on land, and one at sea, sing a common song of joy.
Ready Wisdom that you can apply right now is the theme of Owl Magic, my toolbox of anxiety-busting strategies created for times exactly like these. The instantly applicable guided meditations, stories, poems, yoga poses, and writing prompts in Owl Magic will help you meet today’s challenges from the life-affirming power of your own intuition, because times of change are the times of greatest transformation.
This guy turned up on the roof of my old bike shed last week. Technically he is roosting atop a fine collection of wheels mostly unused due to the ongoing COVID lock down.
Recently a screech owl owned the airspace over the house for the better part of a night. It was a wild, welcome sound such as I have not heard since leaving Cape Cod.
While we stay home, the local wildlife is moving into suburban neighborhoods.
We have just moved house ourselves, so we have a new bike shed, and I think I understand how the wildlife feels. Maybe not quite of one place, hanging somewhere in between, exploring new opportunities as they present themselves, making it up as it comes.
I walk a lot in quiet places tracking subtleties.
The change of light, the water level, where the ducks are feeding.
I’m looking for signs of spring.
The first shoots of green.
Growth and renewal, hope and the moment this wild, global card game of 52 pick-up can be resolved and returned to an orderly box.
Has 2020 taken your sense of magic? Are old stories no longer serving? Channel the season’s magic to change your stories for a better outcome.
Restore Your Magic
When you were small, was the world enchanted? Were you a part of its flow? That’s because everything the adult world declares inanimate is alive to the child. Remember holiday magic? The holiday spirit definitely falls under this category. Children understand the magic of living, and this is something you can reclaim, remember, and retell through story and myth. Try to remember the magical rapture of being alive.
The images of myth are reflections of spiritual and depth potentialities of every one of us. Through contemplating those we evoke powers in our own lives to operate through ourselves.
Rediscover Your Myth
As adults, we become disconnected from our mythic stories because the structures of the adult world value material profit. We forget our inner journeys as we grow up and conform to those structures. When a society forgets its stories and mythologies, or they fail to work, people forget how to live and enter free fall. A lack of story and myth leads to an attraction to extremes in religion, politics, and civic life. This has been the experience of the pandemic year. However, there is magic and story and myth afoot throughout all of December. Let December’s magic lead you into your own personal myth. What are your stories?
See life like a poem, you are participating in a poem, and the root of the poetry is myth.
Retell Your Stories
Do you tell yourself the same stories over and over and end up with the same results? Is it possible the entire world is doing the same thing as the news becomes more and more extreme? We cannot fix the planet right now, but we can look around ourselves and make as much right as possible. One powerful way of doing this involves considering our stories and changing them for a better outcome: Once, I thought I would never find a parking spot for my car. I drove around and around the parking lot, telling myself I would never find a spot. Then I remembered something I had read recently about imagining what you need to manifest it. So I changed my story. I crossed my fingers and visualized myself finding the perfect parking spot. I did another circle back around the parking lot, and not one, but four spots had opened up!
Restore, Rediscover, Retell
Find your way through this pandemic holiday by retelling the familiar old stories and listening to the magic and myth. Keep the parts the work for you. Then, retell your own stories in ways that also work for you. Your highest self is in your stories, so tell them carefully.
I’ve had a lot of questions recently about how I write. I listen deeply, and then the floodgates open.
The landscape is different but always the same. The tide is high or low, lapping the shore or booming chased by the wind, but always the tide. The sand is a soft carpet, a million tiny pieces worn from parent rocks of distant times, sometimes wet, sometimes dry, but always under your feet.
I’ve heard the sand whistle.
A fish washes up, a keening gull drops a clam, it smashes on the low tide rocks, and a meal is served.
The crows are a Greek chorus, chortling from low trees.
Your feet splash and leave prints on the flats that are gone when you return.
These are the sounds of poetry.
To write a poem, you must listen deeply and inhabit your subject.
Befriend a tree. Sit with it and listen. In time you’ll hear its story, and if you listen well, you might, for a time, become the tree.
It’s a form of shapeshifting.
The magic is in the listening and the becoming. Become your subject, and return to write about it.
I’ve had a lot of questions recently about how I write. I listen deeply, and then the floodgates open.
I’ve been driving through traffic and said to the child in the backseat, quick! find a piece of paper and a pen, write this down! Luckily the car always provides the needed materials.
I’ve jumped out of the bathtub with an entire new poem. Water seems to aid creation, and why not? We come from the sea, and we float in water for our first nine months.
I have fragments scribbled on napkins, envelopes, and pretty much anything to hand. It looks messy, but it isn’t.
Walk the place you love most each day.
Listen. Watch. Inhabit.
I am not on the ocean right now, so I am listening deeply inland, along freshwater woods and fields. At first, it didn’t smell right, no salt, and I didn’t know the birds.
But I’m listening and slowly shifting, and new things are coming.
You can read Mary Petiet’s poems in Moon Tide and Owl Magic.
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“All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.”
It’s been a long week of political uncertainty with second lockdowns casting their shadow. We are perhaps finding that life does indeed happen while we make other plans.
We are not the first to experience this.
Over the past few days, I have been thinking a lot about an earlier pandemic and time of unrest, and the surprisingly relevant legacy of a fourteenth century anchorite who overcame dark times with faith in love and a kind of yoga she called Body Prayer.
“All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.” ~Julian of Norwich
I think we could all use a little bit of Julian of Norwich at the moment because her experience can stand us well today.
In Europe, the end of the fourteenth century was also a harrowing time. One-third of the population died of bubonic plague as the Hundred Years War raged and the church split between rival popes.
Like today, the structures people assumed were permanent began to vanish. And like today, a certain kind of wisdom helped people survive the uncertainty.
Think of it as Owl Wisdom.
Owls have a quiet about them, allowing them to observe and notice. They embody an independence that lets them forge ahead with the vision to see the way. They occupy the moment and work with what they have. They soar above the fray.
Here is the owl wisdom you can apply to your situation, the same wisdom women mystics of earlier times tapped into as their worlds convulsed.
In the late fourteenth century, one mystic found peace in the storm by finding a connection to a loving God through something she called Body Prayer. Her name was Julian of Norwich, and what she called Body Prayer looks a lot like modern yoga.
It is also full of owl wisdom
As an anchorite at the church of St. Julian in Norwich, England, Julian of Norwich would have been at home with the idea of social isolation. An anchorite chooses a solitary life to cultivate internal focus.
Quarantine? No problem
Her real name is lost to the ages, but it is almost certain she lost her husband and children to the plague and nearly died of it herself. While ill, she experienced a series of visions about the nature of love, which redefined her connection to God and faith in goodness through awful times.
She described her experience in the first known book in English written by a woman. It was called Revelations of Divine Love.
She was surprisingly modern. As her contemporaries worshiped a harsh patriarchal god, Julian of Norwich called in a radically feminine deity that added motherhood and love to the equation. Her god was both father and mother, and, as the transcendentalists would centuries later, she saw God in everything as she declared salvation universal.
Here is an expression of our next law straight out of an earlier time of pandemic and social upheaval:
The Universal Law of Love: The force that binds everything together. It is not romantic love. It is the energy behind the Law of Connection. It is unconditional and all accepting. It is the opposite of fear.
Think of it like gravity.
It is the glue that can hold us together, individually and collectively, through tumultuous times.
Every situation presents a choice of action. Imagine what happened when Julian of Norwich’s life was derailed by bubonic plague. In no time at all, she lost her family and all the trappings of active, worldly life in medieval Norwich. She could easily have reverted to fear, the opposite of love, and simply ceased to be.
What sustained her in her Time Between?
Our lives have also changed rapidly. Within one week, most of us found ourselves in a state of lockdown due to the coronavirus. It was a scene repeated all over the planet. Maybe some of us have been sick or lost loved ones. Some of us are sheltering in place comfortably. Some of us are suffering, some of us are dying, and some of us are leaving quarantine and picking up the pieces in a changed world roiling with political instability. For all of us, the futures we planned are uncertain.
What can sustain us in our Time Between?
The Pose & The Meditation: Body Prayer
Stand firmly on your yoga mat. Body Prayer consists of a series of four standing poses. First, initiate your prana breath, breathe deeply, in and out. Then shift your focus.
• Await – the posture of receiving. Hold your hands open at waist level. You are welcoming the presence of God or your highest self.
• Allow – this is the posture of opening. Reach up with your hands open to welcome the coming of God’s presence or the presence of your own highest self.
• Accept – the posture of taking. Cup your hands at your heart and take in whatever comes.
• Attend – this is the posture of willingness to act on what has been given. Extend your hands with palms open.
Await, allow, accept, attend. Repeat the sequence while maintaining the breath.
A new title for a new moment. Combining the creative force of the feminine divine with the wisdom of the owl, this book guides you through the anxiety of the current moment. Owl Magic helps reclaim your intuitive power so you can build a better future from the position of your highest self. ~ SHERIANNA BOYLE, AUTHOR OF EMOTIONAL DETOX FOR ANXIETY
Owl Magic takes you gently by the hand and leads you to deeper self-awareness and self-actualization through stories, myths, meditations, and writing prompts, inviting us to peel back the layers of who we are and how we navigate an imperfect world so we can step into our true power. ~RACHEL JEPSON WOLF, AUTHOR OF THE UNPLUGGED FAMILY ACTIVITY BOOK & HERBAL ADVENTURES
Times of change are the times of greatest transformation.
Meet today’s challenges with the life-affirming power of your own intuition.
Open the Owl Magic toolbox of simple anxiety-busting strategies designed to reveal your hidden power.
Journey at your own pace through guided meditations, stories, poems, yoga poses, and writing prompts.
This unique interactive guide provides many routes to your highest self so you can seize the incredible potential of the present moment.
What seeds are you planting now?
The autumn dark descends earlier each twilight, but that doesn’t have to leave you cold.
Now is the time for deep interior work. The early dark signals the great turning within, the ancestral soul-seeking, the ancient memory tugging at the edge of the psyche as the afternoon fades and the moon peeks over the clouds.
Brew your tea. Cast your spells, sit within your quiet, and choose your focus, for what you focus on will surely grow.
Where I am in the Netherlands the dark comes early indeed. But the Dutch have a tradition of keeping things cozy, so the night is lit with flickering candles and met with warmth inside. It is time to reflect and take stock, and as we face increasingly challenging times ahead, it is time to care for ourselves and each other.
The descent is necessary so the return can happen.
In descending, find your ripest, most potent pomegranate seeds, and bring them back safely to plant them in fertile soil that they may flourish. Our job right now is to find the seeds, our mission to plant them well, and our goal to see them grow.
Mary Petiet writes with a passion for connecting and empowering women to live from their highest selves.
She is the author of Minerva’s Owls and Moon Tide: Cape Cod Poems, and a contributor to the anthologies Jesus, Muhammad, and the Goddess, She Rises, vol.2, and Awaken the Feminine!: Dismantling Domination to Restore Balance on Mother Earth. Her work has appeared in Feminism and Religion, Sage Woman, The Wayfarer, and she is a contributor to Mother House of the Goddess.
Join Mary on Facebook or online at www.marypetiet.com and be the first to hear about her new books. She loves to hear from readers at email@example.com and is available for work with book groups and online readings. If you love Owl Magic, please be sure to tell your friends and leave a review on Amazon and Good Reads.